puella magi madoka magica

On the perception of fanworks (and Magia Record)

I’ve been thinking a lot about fanworks lately.

More specifically, I’ve been thinking a lot about fanfiction and how frequently it’s written off or denigrated publicly, but this also somewhat applies to fanart and other methods of engaging with a media property outside of the recognized canon.

Part of this is because of the recent Star Wars canon (I’m using this word very loosely here) post-The Rise of Skywalker, part of this is because I’m a fanfiction writer myself (compartmentalization comes remarkably easy to me), and part of this is because Magia Record aired today.

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Favorite anime of the decade 2010-2019: Honorable Mentions

The fact that I’ve been blogging about anime for a decade makes me feel old, but also weirdly accomplished. Despite monthly gaps, I’ve been plugging away at this blog since 2013, and at Altair & Vega before that, all in the hopes that it would somehow make me a better writer.

I don’t know if anime blogging has accomplished this goal, but it does mean I’ve watched a ton of anime over the past ten years. Most of it was admittedly mediocre and forgettable, although that became slightly less true as the years went by, due to time constraints with my job.

Every post on this blog is subjective, and I think I’ve made that abundantly clear from the get-go — it’s a personal blog about my relationship with anime, for the most part — but just in case that needs clarification, these are my opinions. The purpose of this list isn’t to be an end-all, be-all decree of the absolute and objectively best anime of the past decade. It’s to list my personal favorites and why I enjoyed them so much.

Without further adieu, here are my honorable mentions for the past decade. Only television series will be included in this project with the criteria that they must have begun on January 1, 2010, or later. These are the series that didn’t quite make the final cut into my top ten for a variety of reasons, but I still loved them enough for a special shout-out, or reasoning behind why they didn’t quite make the cut.

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[One] Rebellion

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Earlier this year, I resigned myself to return to the Puella Magi Madoka Magica franchise, in the hopes that I could rekindle my lost love for it. Unsurprisingly, my most recent foray back into the franchise – marathoning all three Madoka movies in order – reignited the feelings that I had for Madoka when it was initially airing. What may come as more of a surprise, is that it was Madoka: Rebellion that stirred me the most.

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Madoka, Madoka, Madoka, and Me

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When Puella Magi Madoka Magica initially aired in 2011, watching it was an experience. Following up on my experience with Star Driver, Madoka was the second water cooler series that I participated in, eagerly vomiting my thoughts into the ether, and chatting with various people on Twitter about the show. When the final two episodes were released, I was one of the eager fans continuously refreshing their browser while waiting for translations. Watching the finale as soon as I possibly could following the fansubbed releases, I jumped into the fray that was unpacking the entire series with vigor.

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The Doubting Homura

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“Won’t you believe in the answer that the one you have protected all this time has found?”

-Madoka Kaname, Puella Magi Madoka Magica, episode 12.

When I was young, my mother would walk every Sunday to the Roman Catholic church down the street with two neatly-dressed, freshly-showered children in tow. We were hardly kicking and screaming, but like most children, my brother and I were often reluctant, and found various, harmless ways of entertaining each other in mass: singing hymns in horrible British accents, or providing whispered commentary on others’ outfits. That being said, there were times when the messages from the mass would truly engage me, when I found the stories themselves interesting, and I would listen with rapt attention, in spite of the fact that I wouldn’t be able to contextualize these messages until I was much older.

One such story that stands out in my mind is that of the apostle Thomas, not necessarily due to the message of the story itself, but my mother’s relationship with it. Every year, shortly following Christmas, my mother would look forward to this particular piece of scripture, involving Thomas. When I was around eight or so, I remember asking her why. She looked down at me with a smile from the seat on my right and said something to the effect of that it was the one time when a passage directly referenced her: a person who believes in spite of not having seen.

Truly believing in others, after all, is one of the most difficult things to do.

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